Growing your own vegetables is an exciting and rewarding hobby for many, but it’s also convenient in the sense that it saves you a trip to the grocery store. Unfortunately, an outdoor vegetable garden chock full of all your favorites isn’t always attainable.
With that said, a small space and winter weather don’t have to throw a wrench in your home-gardening plans. Below, you’ll find the top five low-maintenance veggies you can grow indoors year-round. Plus, you’ll find some tips for how to grow them so you’ll be all set to start indoor gardening!
Whether you enjoy them cooked or raw, carrots are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, in your garden or in containers. Carrots prefer deep, loose soil, so a large pot and well-draining soil are essential. The size of your pot will depend on the amount of carrots you’d like to grow, but it should be at least 12 inches deep.
Keep the soil moist, giving the roots ample water to grow. You can also apply mulch on top of the soil and around the stems to maintain moisture. Carrots will thrive in at least six hours of sun per day, but you should also keep them in temperatures between 32 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain their flavor and sweetness.
Carrots are ready to harvest about 70 to 80 days after planting and you can always pull one out to check the size and color. Once they’re ready, you can store them in the fridge, freezer, or cans, and continue to grow and harvest as much as you’d like.
Onions are an easy addition to any meal, so growing them indoors year-round will ensure you’ve got a constant supply. Plus, you can grow onions from onion scraps! As a bonus, a result of growing onions is also growing scallions, which are excellent in sauces or as a garnish.
If you’re growing them indoors you’ll need a large container, at least 10 inches deep and 3 feet wide. And, when planting in your garden ensure each seedling is placed at least 3 to 4 inches apart, giving the onions room to grow. Now, make sure to pick a spot that receives full sun in your garden or, for containers, perch them on a sunny windowsill.
These vegetables prefer well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 7. Not to mention they love a good watering. The shallow roots of onions require consistent moisture, so it’s important to avoid under-watering.
Once you harvest the onions, you can store them in the fridge or freezer.
Whether you enjoy a BLT daily or prefer a tomato-based pasta on the regular, growing your own tomatoes indoors year-round is a convenient option.
The first step in growing tomatoes in pots is choosing a variety. Determinate varieties are smaller, more compact, and bushier, though indeterminate varieties produce fruit more regularly. Small-fruited varieties, such as plum and cherry, will grow best indoors since they ripen quickly.
Tomatoes require loose, well-drained and fertile soil to thrive. They also prefer around six hours of sunlight per day and moist soil to develop the best quality fruit. Avoid wetting the leaves to prevent common tomato plant diseases. Also, don’t forget to prune your tomato plants to ensure they produce larger, healthier fruits.
Pro Tip: Consider adding a tomato cage to help the plants grow healthy and tall.
Many greens are best eaten fresh, so growing indoors and harvesting as you need them is a great option. Varieties include lettuce, spinach, kale, and arugula. While each of these salad greens require specific care conditions, there are a few general rules to keep in mind.
First, you can grow your lettuce inside to get a head start on the growing season. But whether you plant indoors in containers or out in the garden, you need to sow the seeds before the last frost.
The hardy plant grows best in cool weather, so it’s crucial to keep temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants also prefer at least six hours of sunlight each day and moist, well-draining soil. Remember to plant in pots with drainage holes and opt for a large size that will give the greens plenty of room to grow.
Beets are a versatile addition to your indoor garden, whether you’d like to pickle, bake, or boil them. They prefer well-drained, sandy soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7. Plus, they enjoy ample sunlight, though they can survive in partial shade. The plants can tolerate cool temperatures, but constant shifts in temperature can affect the quality of the root.
Consistent moisture is key when it comes to growing beets, so remember to provide the plants with enough water. You can check if they need watering by sticking your finger in the soil. If it’s dry about an inch down, it’s time to water.
Also, remember to plant beets in a large, deep pot so they have plenty of room to grow.
Tips for Growing Vegetables Indoors
When it comes to growing vegetables indoors, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Below, you’ll find the best tips to keep your indoor garden on the right track.
- Use a container large enough for roots to develop.
- Consider growing from scraps to limit waste.
- Provide adequate lighting, whether you place the veggies in a windowsill or use a grow light.
- Adjust your watering schedule. You may need to water less because the plants won’t dry out as quickly as they would outdoors. On the flip side, you may need to water more often since the plants are in containers with less soil. Watch out for signs of overwatering.
- Use the soil recommended for each vegetable – each can require different nutrients to thrive. Using soil from your yard won’t provide the proper conditions for indoor gardening.
No mater if the weather is cooling down or you’re trying to make it work with a small space, your vegetable gardening dreams can come true. Plus, you’ll enjoy the fruits–or vegetables–of your labor all year-round! Another great thing about growing your veggies indoors? You’ll keep them free of pests and diseases. If you do notice any issues you can isolate them immediately.
Will you be adding any of these veggies to your indoor garden? Share in the comments below!